grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

06-30APR14 - Sultan, WA (with a return to houma, la)

Sunday morning, 06APR, we hit the road to our summer quarters in Sultan, WA.  As always it took more time to reopen house than to close it up.  First set back was when a PVC pipe that had been frozen during the winter, burst in the pump house necessitating emergency trip to Lowe's for parts.
Monday was a glorious sunny day, so we focused our attention on the outside of the buildings & landscaping.  Eventually this meant mowing over two acres of dead and/or wet grass that has been unattended for over seven months.  During the day cousin Steve (who we saw just yesterday in Kittitas) stopped by since Bonnie & he were in Munro helping Bonnie's parents.  Steve has volunteered to help Dan install electricity in the new shop/garage building, so it was a good opportunity for him to see what he was getting into:)!  By the end of the day no one had energy to fix dinner, so it was take out from Ixtapa's Mexican.
By Tuesday we finally moved the RV into the new garage/shop we had built last summer.  One immediate benefit of the new building was being able to immediately dump the RV holding tanks!  Then it was back to yard work with Corrie working on the landscape & Dan attacking the blackberries.

Thursday, 10APR, Dan headed into Everett to get Electrical Permit from the state department called Labor & Industry (aka L&I).  Friday Dan headed out to pick up our repaired old computer.  For those that don't remember, the hard drive mechanically failed last month in Phoenix.  Since there were still important files on the drive, we needed it fixed if possible.  The technician saved the files but now software needs re-loading, & remember Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP.

Thursday, 17APR, Gene of AUSA Excavation arrived early with his track-hoe to widen our driveway to the new shop/garage, to dig an electric power trench to the shop, dig a water trench to the shop, & to move dirt.  To save time & cut costs Dan even helped with our 60 year old Ferguson tractor.  A couple of times Gene overloaded the Ferguson with the track-hoe & all of sudden Dan would feel the rear end of the tractor lifting off the ground!

Sunday, Easter, Dan's brother Shawn & fiancĂ© Cindie come by on their Harleys for a visit.  So we stopped our never ending yard work & had a great visit, including an "early" dinner.  
 As we mentioned in our BLOG back in March for Sierra Vista, AZ, our daughter's husband Raymond Pitre was sent to an Army training school for four months.  This resulted in daughter Rebecca taking care of two infants & the house, while working fulltime.  So we decided that Corrie should fly back to Houma, LA, for a week, to lend a helping hand & hopefully lower Rebecca's stress level.  So Tuesday early morning, 22APR, it was off to SeaTac airport to send her on her way.
Wednesday cousin Steve drove over from Kittitas to help with getting electric power to shop/garage.  First thing was getting PVC conduit into the trench dug last week.  Since it has rained almost continuously since the trench had been dug, it required a rental "trash" pump to move the water; but it was still muddy, muddy, muddy.  For some reason Steve didn't want to play in the mud, & made Dan do all the dirty work?  Steve's reward was dinner at Ixtapa's.  Thursday morning before Steve's departure, Steve & Dan decided to go visit Aunt Jan, who was back home after dealing with some medical issues.  After that visit Steve went home; & Dan spent the rest of day cleaning up & putting stuff away.
Saturday, 26APR, Dan headed into Seattle to attend the Japanese Festal at Seattle Center.  We attended this Festal last year (see below BLOG to learn more about Festals at the Seattle Center).  After that he walked down to the Pike Place Market to people watch.

Monday, 28APR, L&I inspector showed up to inspect the conduit & trench.  No problems found.  After L&I's departure, Dan headed to Home Depot to rent a Kubota tractor with back-hoe to quickly bury the conduit & fill in the trench.
Unfortunately Wednesday, 30APR, Corrie decided to cancel her return flight to SeaTac because grandson Mason was really sick:( Sad news for Dan, but it will definitely be of great help to Rebecca.

The month went by quickly but it seems like most of the time was spent:

---battling blackberries 
---building shelves & work bench in shop/garage
---maintenance on the Toad
---installing two sets of lights for garage doors on shop/garage
---smoking salmon filets
---new battery for Ferguson tractor
---straightening out bank accounts
In general, the never ending stuff that comes with being a home owner; along with a couple of acres of land!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

30MAR14-05APR14 - Kittitas, WA (via laughlin, nv; bakersfield, ca; corning, ca; & metolius, or)

Early Sunday morning, 30MAR, we got back on the road to the Pacific NW; & it was decided that Ed & Elaine would follow us for the first day to Laughlin, NV, & a little visit to the Riverside Casino that we have visited many times (see below BLOG).  After a very scenic but windy drive from Phoenix we all met at the casino after checking in (us in the RV park, them in the hotel).  Dan & Ed toured Laughlin's collection of antique slot machines & classic automobiles before doing some light gambling.  Early evening we all got back together for dinner at the casino.  Unfortunately after a great but all too short time together we said our good-byes; since we will head west & north tomorrow to the Pacific NW, & they will head east & north to Manitoba.
Monday morning it was on to I-40W & CA 58 to a RV park in Bakersfield, CA, to spend the night.  Tuesday (April Fool's) was a long drive on I-5N to new casino for us (Rolling Hills Casino) in Corning, CA.  Since we were staying in their RV park, the casino gave us $20 each to gamble with!

Wednesday morning was a really early start & beautiful drive on US 97N.  The surrounding mountains were lightly dusted with last nights snow.  Mt Lassen, Mt Shasta, Mt Bachelor, Mt Jefferson, Mt Hood & the Three Sisters were prominent & beautiful.
Thursday morning, 03APR, was short, easy drive to Dan's cousin Steve & wife Bonnie in Kittitas, WA.  After setting up camp Steve BBQ'd an excellent elk & deer dinner.
Friday morning, 04APR, Steve took us out in the country side to look for elk as part of his duties as a Master Hunter for Washington (duties we have discussed in previous BLOGs).  Corrie decided to go along this time because it was a short trip & Steve has a new, used, four wheeler that is much more comfortable than the 1960s jeepster.  While scouting for the elk Steve also keeps an eye out for elk antlers that have dropped off the males at this time of year.  Why? - because they are worth big money to western style craftsmen & to Asians that use the ground antlers to put lead in their pencils.
After awhile Steve spotted something white off in the distance; he thought it was the rib cage of an elk & not worth checking out.  So Corrie hiked all the way out & brought back an elk skull (w/o antlers) & the lower jaw.  What was unusual was that the upper jaw still had the ivory incisors.  Eons ago ancient elk had large, sharp, incisors; the ivory teeth are also prized by craftsmen.

Meanwhile as Corrie returned to the truck with her booty, Steve had spotted what appeared to be two "unnatural" sticks in the brush further off the road.  So he & Corrie decided to check it out.  Turns out that it was the largest pair of elk antlers Steve has ever discovered!  (note - finding the pair is also unusual & makes them even more valuable!).  To be fair we let Steve keep the latest find, & we will take one of his smaller sets to Sultan  (note - Steve doesn't sell his antlers.)  Not to say Corrie is hooked, but she wants to spend all day Saturday hunting for more.  Oh yeah, she also found a coyote skull.

We then returned to Steve's place to pick up Bonnie & head out for a late lunch/early dinner at Canyon River Ranch Grill located on scenic highway 821 halfway to Yakima.  Since it is in an out of the way location, it is only open four days a week for limited hours.  The food was excellent & well worth traveling to!

Once again we returned to the Kiesel's to rest & relax after a great meal.  Even though everyone said they were tired, Steve & Corrie decided to head out & look for more antlers!
Saturday morning Dan drove Steve & Corrie into the hills so they could look for more shedded elk antlers.  The idea being the drop off point was at the top of a ridge & Dan would pick them up a couple of hours later at the bottom.  When Dan arrived to pick them up, it was clear that Corrie was feeling the effects of the "hike".  No antlers were found.
That evening all four us headed into Ellensburg, WA, for outstanding Japanese food at Oyama Japanese Steakhouse, followed by excellent ice cream at Winegars (voted best in WA state).  At Oyama Dan ordered a Japanese soda called Ramune'.  The waitress brought the small bottle to the table & asked Dan if he knew how to open it?  To Dan it looked simple but before he could answer she began to open it.
First she took off a plastic seal that looked straight forward.  Then pulled hard straight up on the top; this produced a plunger looking thingy that she rotated 180 degrees & inserted back into the bottle top.  Then she pressed straight down very hard & we heard a loud pop.  The bottle was now open to the air & the liquid began fizzing.  Apparently the top of the bottle is sealed with a glass ball that can only be opened by forcibly pressing the ball back into the bottle?  The neck of the bottle is designed so that the glass ball cannot drop to the bottom, or come out the top which would definitely be a swallowing hazard!
It appears that this is not safely accomplished by all purchasers because here are the safety instructions on the bottle:

---Ask an adult to open the bottle for you.  (Obviously the waitress recognized Dan was not an adult yet?)

---Do not disassemble the plastic mouth piece from the bottle.

---Do not remove the marble from the bottle.  (It looks like this is impossible without breaking the bottle?)

---To avoid injury, do not place the cap, opener or marble in your mouth and do not place any body parts into the bottle.  (Other than small fingers, not sure what other body parts they are talking about?)

---Do not store this product in the freezer or expose to high temperature.

---Do not consume if the glass ball is broken or descended prior to opening.  (Is it ok to consume if ball breaks or descends after opening?)

Sunday morning, 06APR, it was back on the road in our now customized RV, to the house in Sultan, WA.